Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ashok Chavan is new Maharashtra Chief Minister

Rahul Wadke

Mumbai, Dec. 5 Mr Ashok Chavan, Industries Minister of Maharashtra, is the new Chief Minister of the State.

The decision comes about 36 hours after the position fell vacant with the resignation of Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh. He had resigned owning moral responsibility for the Mumbai terror attack, where gunmen held the financial capital under siege for over 60 hours.

The Senior Congress party leader Mr Pranab Mukherjee made the announcement after over 24 hours of hectic parleys and discussions with the Congress high command on Friday. In a parallel development, the NCP leader, Mr Chhagan Bhujbal, was named the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister.

In the first government of Mr Deshmukh, he had held the same portfolio. He resigned from his position in December 2003 over the fake stamp paper scam.

Also in the race for the top post were the former Chief Minister, Mr Narayan Rane, and the Co-operation Minister, Mr Patangrao Kadam. But before the announcement was made, Mr Rane alleged that he had been sidelined by the party.

Political Career

The 50-year-old Mr Chavan hails from a Congress loyalist family in Nanded. His father, late Shankarrao Chavan was also Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Union Home Minister.

The junior Mr Chavan started his political career in 1987-88 when he was elected as Member of Parliament from Nanded parliamentary constituency. In July 1992, he was elected as member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. He was Minister of State for Public Works between 1993 and 1994. Between 1995 and 1999 he was the General Secretary, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee.

In October 1999, he was elected as an MLA from the Mudkhed Assembly constituency in Nanded. In the same month, he was inducted as Cabinet Minister for Revenue and Protocol. Again, he contested the Assembly elections from Mudkhed in October 2004 and won by a margin of 71,000 votes. In November 2004 he was inducted into the Cabinet and since then has been holding charge of Industries, Mining, Cultural Affairs and Protocol.